Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has been talking spicy as of late, and owner Hal Steinbrenner finally weighed in.
Speaking to the Post’s Joel Sherman via email, Steinbrenner supported his GM and his hearty defense of the team in which Cashman called the Yankees “pretty f***ing good” at the GM Meetings in Arizona. His only criticism? The language was a bit much.
“While I don’t condone the cussing, I do like the passion,” the beleagured Bronx Boss wrote Sherman. “There are too many false narratives out there about our organization, being pushed by uninformed and uninvolved people. It is, needless to say, frustrating.”
Buckle up, everyone. Because he’s right.
Granted, Steinbrenner’s response also comes on the back of what might be a brewing feud between Cashman and oft-injured slugger Giancarlo Stanton. In another presser at the GM Meetings, Cashman called out the former MVP over his constant injury issues. And in turn, Stanton’s agent Joel Wolfe threw shade at the Yankees, even implying he may steer future free agency clients away from the Bronx.
Not a great PR day for New York, to say the least. It’s never a good look when squabbles between a team and player spill out into the press. Less so when it’s someone as expensive and injury prone as Stanton. Right on cue, #YankeesTwitter ginned up the anti-Cashman content their squawking flock demands:
Brian Cashman after re-signing Harrison Bader, Mike Ford, Mike Tauchman and 38 year old David Robertson pic.twitter.com/gbzdOjn9hS
— Joey (@DJLeMVP) November 14, 2023
Brian Cashman hast to go. He's offering nothing positive to the Yankees anymore. Just the way he parted with Brett Gardner is enough to boot his ass out of the door.
— WAE (@BE10sCoach) November 15, 2023
Yankees to do list:
✅Hal needs to refrain from backing Cashman on his angry tantrums/publicly shaming players and be a REAL owner.
✅Fire Brian Cashman.
✅Hire Willie Randolph as bench coach.
✅Keep Gleyber Torres.
✅Acquire Bellinger/Soto or both.
— Jimmie Lombardi (@JimmieLombo) November 15, 2023
Let’s tune out the noise and have an actual conversation about Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman, the two men at the top of the Yankees totem pole. Starting with Cash, we can all agree his tenure has been frustrating. He prefers shrewder, more calculative roster decisions with occasional splashes. Gone are the days of the late George Steinbrenner’s annual free agency shopping sprees.
And speaking of Ol’ George, his son Hal, as we’ve noted, is the opposite. He doesn’t covet meetings with the press and seems to have only recently taken a more hands-on role in baseball operations. But even then, he’s still very much an absentee owner compared to his father.
Now, this is for the readers who came of age watching the Derek Jeter ’90s Yankees, or even the last World Series in 2009. Reach deep into your memories and think long and hard. Every Yankees recollection you can muster, both in-season and offseason, and ask yourself a question:
When has going all-in on free agency spending truly ever helped the Yankees? Seriously, think of every time New York spent and spent and spent and it actually paid off.
The reality is for all of those offseason spending sessions, from when George Steinbrenner bought the team in 1973 up until his death in 2010, only one actually won a title. It was in 2008/09 when the Yankees spent over $420 million to sign CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Mark Teixeira. Sabathia was worth it even as he aged, but Burnett was traded mid-deal and Teixeira started regressing in 2010.
We don’t have time to replay all of George’s Cringiest Hits so just sit on this. The 2009 team aside, every Yankees championship team has been a mix of homegrown talent and players acquired via free agency or trade. That’s baseball, Suzyn. It’s been the same playbook for decades. One never outweighs the other.
And if you look at Brian Cashman and his Yankees resume from that angle? He’s actually done a pretty good job! The Yankees haven’t had a losing season since 1992. As to roster construction, he’s never once lost a player he couldn’t lose.
We can be frustrated about the Yankees not pursuing big names, but we all know the actual truth. Brian Cashman, who certainly deserves criticism for some of his decisions these last few years, is overall a good GM. Perhaps even great. Whatever his process, it objectively works.
Hal Steinbrenner knows that too. Sure, he could fire Cashman and bring in somebody new, but guess what? Any new hire will probably want to blow it all up and do a full rebuild. Top to bottom, from the farm system to the front office.
Can we, as New York baseball fans, really stomach the idea of the Yankees sitting near the bottom of the barrel for a few years before gradually returning to glory? Can this fanbase shift its collective focus from free agency to the summer’s MLB Draft, just for a short while?
Most importantly, what if the new face’s vision fails? Is Hal Steinbrenner firing Brian Cashman really worth that risk?
Didn’t think so. Let the men work.